Imagine a hospital. As healthcare services become more specialized and patients become more mobile, the ability to access healthcare across data multiple hospitals or clinics is of critical importance for diagnosis and treatment—this is especially crucial for cancer patients. Being able to share electronic health records (EHR) across multiple providers is essential for patients, whether they’re already receiving treatment, seeking a second opinion, or post-treatment. And, for providers, maintaining patient history which is imperative for evaluating and optimizing the care they’ve received is also important. In this case, what the hospital needs is a data sharing solution, and blockchain is just the solution they and other organizations need. Here’s why:
What is a Data Sharing Solution?
Data sharing is the practice of making research data available to other organizations. Many agencies, institutions, and publications have policies regarding data sharing because, oftentimes, being transparent and open about the findings of the research is in everybody’s best interest—and many consider it to be a critical part of the scientific method.
A data sharing solution brings with it the ability to share the same data resource with multiple applications and/or users. The idea is that the data is stored in one or more servers in the network and that there is a software locking mechanism which prevents the same data from being changed by two people at the same time.
What are the Benefits of Data Sharing?
Anyone who manages company data understands the benefits data sharing brings. While the specific benefits can vary between companies and industries, let’s paint with broad strokes:
- Benefits of Data Sharing for Enterprises: Data sharing reduces inefficiencies, which helps the bottom line. It also increases collaboration and opens new opportunities for business leaders.
- Benefits of Data Sharing for Society: When governments implement data sharing solutions, it can better inform policy and increase trust with organizations. This can bring about economic benefits and innovation—therefore bringing advancement in research.
Blockchain as a Data Sharing Solution
So, how can blockchain provide a data sharing solution? It all leans on what blockchain is: a peer-to-peer distributed ledger which provides an immutable, transparent, add-only register of all the actions that all participants have put onto the network. Once the data has been added, they are digitally signed, timestamped, and grouped into blocks in chronological order—effectively broadcasting the change to all participants in the blockchain. To add a new block to the ledger, a consensus protocol is used; based on how the rights are set up in the blockchain—either public or private, permissioned or permissionless—the user who makes changes can either be anonymous or public; the network can also define who can read the ledger.
Let’s look back at the hospital example from the introduction, because the healthcare industry is one of many that would benefit from the use of blockchain as a data sharing solution, since healthcare data management is one of the many applications for data sharing. Conducting medical research necessitates a data sharing process and intelligent data management. It’s important to resolve the challenges faced by regulators and for patients to gain back control over their private data, including their medical records. This provides patients with the opportunity to contribute to medical research and commercial projects without sacrificing privacy and security, speed up the recruitment phase of clinical trials, and make real-time data available.
SIMBA as a Data Sharing Solution
As blockchain innovators, SIMBA Chain has years of experience helping companies, academic institutions, and governments integrate blockchain solutions into their processes. We believe that this technology, which promises to enable the secure transfer of data, provides a way for information to be recorded, shared, and accessed by a community of common interests and goals. If you want to learn more about blockchain, smart contracts, and the solutions they can bring to your organization, contact SIMBA!